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187 Piccadilly, W. i 





THE history of the little treatise, by the 
late Lord Henry Bentinck, on handling 
a pack of hounds out hunting is not without 
its interest, and it has authority, I may add, of 
the highest order. 

It is the copy of a letter written to me by the 
late Lord Henry Bentinck himself, one day not 
very long after I had bought his pack of hounds, 
from Loch Ericht, his small shooting lodge in 
the famous deer forest of Ardverickay, only six 
miles from Dalwhinnie station, on the Highland 
line. It was written on a day when there was 
such a tremendous blizzard that even he, who 
was never known to miss a day in any week in 
the course of the stalking season, was unable to 
go out. 

So he occupied himself by writing to me, 
in a letter, the contents of the little pamphlet in 
question, and its republication, which has been 
the subject of our correspondence. To this 
I rephed by saying that I thought it ought to 
be published, and I asked his leave to do it. 



But this he would not give me, saying he could 
write something much better than that, and 
would do so, some day. 

But I had it printed for private circulation, 
and I gave a copy to several of the older 
Masters, and among others one to Mr. George 
Lane Fox, of Bramham Moor celebrity, who 
the day after Lord Henry's death sent a copy 
to Bailys Magazine, who published it. 

And here a word about my own relations 
with the late Lord Henry may not be out of 

He was the fourth son of the fourth Duke 
of Portland, who died in 1854, being succeeded 
by his second son, the Marquis of Titchfield 
(the eldest son having died in 1821); the third 
being Lord George Bentinck, who in his earlier 
days was the Napoleon of the Turf; and the 
fourth. Lord Henry, who in the hunting world 
was very much what his brother George had 
been upon the turf. ^ And these three brothers 
it was, or rather the forces they were able to 
command, which enabled them to establish 
Mr. Disraeli as Leader of the Conservative 
Party, and finally to defeat, and oust. Sir Robert 
Peel from power, after their homeric conflicts in 
connection with the Repeal of the Corn Laws. 

* See lAfe of Disraeli, by Buckle, Vol. III., pp. 116-128, 
129, 133. 



For reasons I need not enter into now Lord 
Henry shortly afterwards abandoned politics alto- 
gether, and his favourite pursuits were, for the 
remainder of his life, hunting in the winter, 
deer-stalking in the autumn, and playing whist 
in the summer, in which he was facile princeps — 
in fact, in those days he was said to be the 
finest player in Europe. 

My acquaintance with him was on this wise : 
I knew him, and well, from the time I was a 
boy. He had been Master of the Burton Country 
in Lincolnshire for many years — nearly thirty, 
I think — one of the three countries in England 
which were hunted six days a week at that time, 
and where his chief supporter was my uncle, 
Mr. Charles Chaplin, who gave him a sub- 
scription of 1200/. a year, and whose tenants on 
an estate of between twenty and thirty thousand 
acres used to walk for him a very large number 
of puppies, than which nothing is more important 
for the successful breeding of a first-class pack 
of hounds. And 1 succeeded him within no 
long period after I became of age, my uncle 
having died while I was still at Christ Church, 
in the University of Oxford, when I continued 
the old subscription. It was shortly after that, 
however, that Lord Henry expressed his wish to 
give up the country, whereupon I bought his 
hounds for 3500/. and took the Burton Country 

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myself, of which he had been the Master for so 
many years. 

Lord Henry was a man of quite exceptional 
ability, as I had every reason to believe— not 
only from what I knew myself, but, some years 
afterwards, from no less an authority than that 
of Mr. Disraeli, and in the way I shall describe 
directly. And, from all the experience I have 
had since then, I have very Httle doubt that his 
was probably the best brain ever given to the 
breeding of hounds, and hunting; and he was 
also, I think, upon the whole, one of the best 
horsemen, and with the finest hands upon a 
horse that was difficult to ride I ever knew, 
with the possible exception of Lord Lonsdale. 
I may add that it was from Lord Henry 
I learnt everything I ever knew — about horses, 
hounds, deer-stalking and deer-forests, and sport 
of all kinds, and a great deal about politics, too. 
And it was by him practically, before he aban- 
doned politics, as is shown in one of Mr. Buckle's 
most admirable volumes of the Life of Disraeli — 
it was by him and his exertions, freely admitted 
by Mr. Disraeli himself, that he was success- 
fully run into the leadership of the Party after 
Lord George Bentinck's death. "^ 

•^ See Life of Disraeli, by Buckle, who showed himself in 
that work as another great English historian. Vol. III., 
pp. 116, 128-132, 133, 135. 



Lord Henry Bentinck died at Tathwell, on 
the last day of 1870, in one of my houses in 
Lincolnshire, which I had lent him with ten 
thousand acres of shooting, and there he used to 
practise rifle-shooting in the summer, with pea- 
rifles, at both rabbits and hares, which were 
rather plentiful on some parts of the estate at 
that time, in preparation for the stalking season 
in the autumn, where he seldom missed a stag 
with a different weapon, killing, on an average, 
about a hundred every year himself. 

And, when Parliament met, early in Feb- 
ruary afterwards, if I remember rightly, and 
I was shown into Mr. DisraeH's room, at his 
Party Dinner, to which he was kind enough 
to invite me when the Queen's Speech was 
read, he accosted me as follows : 

* Ah ! ' he said, ' you and I have both lost 
a great friend since we parted/ 

* Yes, sir,* I replied ; ' I know that Lord 
Henry and yourself were great friends at one 
time, and he has often talked to me about 

* Yes,' he said ; ' and I always wished it could 
have remained so.' And then, after a pause, he 
added : ' I have always said that, take him all 
round, I think upon the whole that Henry 
Bentinck was probably the ablest man I ever 
knew.' And very soon afterwards dinner was 



announced, and we went into the dining- 

I make no comments on Lord Henry's 
description of GoodalVs Practice, in the handUng 
of his hounds, excepting this : I agree with every- 
thing he says, but it is necessary to remember 
this — the Burton Country, where his chief ex- 
perience lay, was a country of comparatively 
small and manageable fields of horsemen ; very 
different from those you see in the Quorn, the 
Cottesmore, the Pytchley, and the chief fashion- 
able grass countries, and sometimes the Belvoir, 
on the grass side of that country. But the prin- 
ciples which are inculcated, nevertheless, hold 
good ; and, once a pack of hounds have learnt to 
know, and believe in, their huntsman, they are 
never happy away from him, and there is nothing 
they won't do, and no effort they won't make, to 
get back to him. Tom Firr was a notable 
instance of this in the Quorn ; but then he had 
the best Master in England (Lord Lonsdale) to 
help him, and no one could handle a big field 
better than he could, that I've ever seen ; and 
the way in which he controlled a field of possibly 
five or six hundred horsemen on a Quorn Friday 
was a triumph of organization I have never seen 

For instance, when drawing one of their 
crack coverts in that country, the field was kept 



away some distance from it, often nearly a whole 
field, until the fox had gone away, and the 
huntsman had got hold of his hounds sufficiently 
to get a start with him ; and then, when the 
field got the order to go, my word ! There was 
a charge of cavalry with a vengeance, to get up 
to them. 

Lord Annaly did the same thing in the 
Pytchley and had the same complete control of 
his field ; and in this way with the combination 
of Lonsdale and Firr in the Quorn, and Annaly 
and Freeman in after years in the Pytchley, 
there could not have been a happier arrangement 
for successful sport out hunting, if there was any 
scent at all. 

They were two first-rate huntsmen also. The 
rarest and most difficult thing in the world to 
find in my experience is a really good hunts- 

And here I can't omit some reference to 
Tom Smith, who was originally my second 
whipper-in — who was afterwards huntsman to 
the Bramham Moor hounds, and became so 
celebrated for many years in that country ; 
and though it never was my fortune to see 
him hunting hounds myself, I know it must 
have been so — from so many sources, all of 
which came from men who were absolutely 



He comes, too, of a famous family of hunts- 
men of that name, three generations of whom, 
I think I am right in saying, had been hunts- 
men to the Brocklesby hounds — one of the 
oldest and best packs of hounds in the country 
at that time. 

I have often said it was easier to find a good 
Prime Minister than a real good huntsman, and 
Heaven knows that either is difficult enough ; 
and I incline to think it is more so than ever 
now for Ministers to-day, whose difficulties are 
far greater than they ever were in my time. 
How many have there been since Lord Palmer- 
ston, the first that I remember? 

Curiously enough, the only two men promi- 
nent in public life that I knew personally and 
at all well, when I became a member of the 
House of Commons in 1868, were Lord Palmer- 
ston and the old Lord Derby; but they were 
both of them members of the Jockey Club, and 
in that way I got to know them well. 

To go back to GoodalVs Practice from which 
I'm afraid I have rather strayed — I think that 
the good work done by Bailys Magazine for so 
many years should not be thrown away, and that 
this admirable little treatise called GoodalVs 
Practice should be preserved in the interest of 
Fox-hunting for the use of this and future 



The language is so simple, and so much of it 
is ordinary common-sense, that any one can 
understand it. 

It would be invaluable for Hunt servants, 
both huntsmen and their whippers-in who serve 
under them in particular — many of whom are 
seldom taught enough by their superiors or 
masters. I think it is a better education in 
their case which is needed more than anything, 
and I will conclude with an instance of what 
I mean. 

I was rather late one morning in arriving at a 
gorse covert in the Belvoir Country ; Coston 
covert, I think it was, into which the hounds 
had just been put to draw. I had come from 
Barley Thorpe, and I saw at once it wasn't the 
huntsman who was in the covert with the hounds, 
and I was told it was the first whip, Freeman, 
who had never hunted them before, the hunts- 
man being disabled by a fall the previous day. 
I knew him quite well, so I went into the covert 
to see if I could help him. 

* So you are handling the hounds, I under- 
stand/ I said, * for the first time to-day ? ' 

* Ah, yes, Squire,' he said, * and I can do 
nothing with them,' he replied. 

' Well,' 1 said, * I've been at it all my life, 
and perhaps I could tell you one or two things 
which might be useful.' 



' I should be most grateful if you would,' he 

He had been blowing his horn whenever the 
fox crossed a ride, with the same note that ought 
only to be used when he has gone away, or he 
has caught him. 

So I replied, ' Put your horn into its case to 
begin with, and don't blow it again like you have 
been doing, till your fox has gone away, or 
till you want to draw your hounds out of covert, 
which you should do with one or two long-drawn 
notes ; or till you have caught your fox and got 
him lying dead before you. Then you may blow 
the note you've been using as long as you like. 
That is one thing. 

' The next thing is this : when you've gone 
away with a fox, and come to a check, don't go 
to help your hounds till they ask you, and the 
way you will know they are asking you is this, 
and these hounds (who at that time were con- 
stantly interfered with) will ask you immediately 
because they are accustomed to it. 

' You will see them standing with their heads 
up, waggling their tails, and doing nothing to 
feel for the scent or to help themselves. V¥hen 
you see that, go straight into the middle of the 
pack, turn your horse, say ** cop-cop," or anything 
you like, trot off, and they will go with you like 
a flock of sheep. 



' Trot gently up to wherever you think your 
fox is most Ukely to have gone, and if you are 
lucky enough to hit off his line, they will go all 
the easier with you the next time. 

* Now,' I said, ' that is enough for to-day, and 
I shall stay out to see how you get on.' 

I stayed out till quite late in the evening. It 
was in the Spring. He was fortunate enough to 
hit off his fox the first time, and before the 
evening the hounds had taken to him com- 
pletely, and he could do anything he liked 
with them. 

He was so nice and modest-minded a fellow 
that he came half a mile out of his way to meet 
me on his way home, and when we met he said, 
* I couldn't go home, Squire, without thanking 
you for what you told me this morning. The 
ambition of my life is to be a huntsman. I am 
most anxious to learn, and you are the first 
person, gentleman or huntsman, who has ever 
told me a single thing.' 

* Well,' I said, * you seem very appreciative, 
and whenever you find yourself in a difficulty 
either as whipper-in or huntsman, if you will 
write and tell me what it is, I will tell you 
anything I can to help you.' 

That is the difficulty, I fear, with too many 
of the younger ones in that profession, and 
nothing could help them more than what they 

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would learn from Lord Henry Bentinck's plain 
and simple letter to me on GoodalVs Practice. 
I sent a copy of it to Freeman very shortly 
afterwards, and we corresponded frequently, 
and do still ; and no one that I know has a 
better reputation as a huntsman to-day, or shows 
more sport than he does. 

April, 1922. 



William Goodall's Method 
WITH Hounds. 

TN handling his Hounds in the open, with 
a Fox before him, he never had them rated 
or driven to him by his whips ; never hallooed 
them from a distance. When he wanted them he 
invariably went himself to fetch them, anxiously 
watching the moment that the Hounds had 
done trying for themselves, and felt the want 
of him. He then galloped straight up to their 
heads, caught hold of them, and cast them in a 
body a hundred yards m his front, every Hound 
busy before him with his nose snuffing the 
ground, his hackles up, his stern curled over his 
back, each Hound relying on himself and believ- 
ing in each other. When cast in this way, the 
Huntsman learns the exact value of each Hound, 
while the young Hounds learn what old Hounds 
too believe in and fly to, and when the scent is 
taken up no Hound is disappointed. When the 
Huntsman trails his Hounds behind him, four- 
fifths of his best Hounds will be staring at his 
horses tail, doing nothing, 



The Hounds came to have such confidence 
in Goodall, that with a burning scent, he would 
cast them in this way at a hand gallop, all the 
Hounds in his front making every inch of ground 
good ; while with a poor scent he would do it in 
a walk, regulating his pace by the quality of the 
scent; the worse the scent, the more time the 
Hounds want to puzzle it out. 

On this system the Hounds are got to the 
required spot in the very shoi^test time, with every 
Hound busily at work, and with his nose tied to 
the ground. 

On the opposite vulga?^ plan, the Huntsman, 
galloping off to his Fox, hallooing his Hounds 
from a distance, his noise drives the Hounds in 
the first instance to flash wildly in the opposite 
direction ; four or five minutes are lost before 
the whip can come up and get to their heads ; 
then they are flogged up to their Huntsman, the 
Hounds driving along with their heads up, their 
eyes staring at their Huntsman's horse's tail, 
looking to their Huntsman for help, disgusted, 
and not relying upon themselves, especially the 
best and most sagacious Hounds. A few minutes 
more are lost before the best Hounds will put 
their noses down and begin to feel for the scent, 
a second check becomes fatal, and the Fox is 
irretrievably lost. Often enough, in being 
whipped up to their Huntsman in this way, 



when crossing the line of the Fox with their 
heads up, they first catch his wind, and then, as 
a matter of course, they must take the scent 
heelways, the Fox, as a rule, running down the 
wind. This fatal piece of bungling, so injurious 
to Hounds — is always entirely owing to the 
Huntsman ; it is neither the fault of the whips 
or the Hounds ; it never can occur when the 
Huntsman moves his Hounds in his front with 
their noses down. In these two different sys- 
tems lies the distinction between be'mg quick and 
a bad hurry. 

2. — When the Fox was gone, in place of 
galloping off after his Fox without his Hounds, 
blowing them away down the wind from such 
a distance that half the Hounds would not hear 
him, and he would only get a few leading 
Hounds still further separated from the body, 
Goodall would take a sharp hold of his horse's 
head, quick as lightning turn back in the 
opposite direction, get up wind of the body of 
his Hounds, and blowing them away from the 
tail, bring up the two ends together, giving 
every Hound a fair chance to be away with 
the body. 

It is impossible to over-estimate the mischief 
done to a pack of Hounds by unfairly and 
habitually leaving a Hound behind out of its 
place : it is teaching them to be rogues. For this 



purpose, Goodall had one particular note of his 
horn never used at any other time except when 
his Fox was gone, or his Fox was in his hand: 
the Hounds, learning the note, would leave a 
Fox in covert to fly to it. Hounds are very 
sagacious animals ; they cannot bear being left 
behind, nor do they like struggling through thick 
covert ; but if that note is ever used at any other 
time the charm is gone ; the Hounds will not 
believe in it ; you cannot lie to them with vn- 
puniiy. This was Goodall's great seciet for 
getting his Hounds away all in a lump on the 
back of his Fooo, and hustling him before he had 
time to empty himself. This was his system for 
getting his Hounds through large woodlands : to 
come tumbling out together without splitting, 
and sticking to their run Fox. This is the 
explanation of the famous old Meynell saying, 
' In the second field they gathered themselves 
together, in the third they commenced a terrible 

3. — Goodall's chief aim was to get the hearts 
of his Hounds. He considered Hounds should 
be treated like women : that they would not bear 
to be bullied, to be deceived, or neglected with 
impunity. For this end, he would not meddle 
with them in their casts until they had done 
trying for themselves, and felt the want of him : 
he paid them the compliment of going to fetch 



them ; he never deceived or neglected them ; he 
was continually cheering and making much of his 
Hounds ; if he was compelled to disappoint them 
by roughly stopping them off a suckling vixen 
or dying Fox at dark, you would see him, as 
soon as he had got them stopped, jump off his 
horse, get into the middle of his pack, and spend 
ten minutes in making friends with them again. 
The result was that the Hounds were never 
happy without him, and when lost would drive 
up through any crowd of horsemen to get to him 
again, and it was very rare for a single Hound 
to be left out. 

It is impossible to over- rate the mischief done 
to a pack of Hounds by leaving them out ; it 
teaches them every sort of vice^ upsets their con- 
dition, besides now exposing them to be destroyed 
on the railway line. There is no more certain 
test of the capacity of a Huntsman than the 
manner in which his Hounds jly to him and 
work for him with a wilL 

Goodall, Old Musters, and Foljambe were 
undoubtedly the three Master-minds of our day. 
Their general system of handling Hounds was 
much the same, though each had his peculiar 
eoccellence, and each has often said that if they 
lived to be a hundred they would learn something 
every year. All three agreed in this, that it was 
ruinous to a pack of Hounds to meddle with 



them before they had done trying for themselves. 
The reasoning upon this most material point is 
very simple. If the Hounds are habitually 
checked, and meddled with in their natural casts, 
they will learn to stand still at every difficulty, 
and wait for their Huntsman ; every greasy 
wheat-field will bring them to a dead stop, and 
however hard the Huntsman may ride on their 
back, two or three minutes must be lost before 
he can help them out of their difficulty, whilst 
in woods he cannot ever know what they are 
about. (For once the Huntsman can help them, 
nineteen times the Hounds must help themselves.) 
It was Old Muster's remark that for the first ten 
minutes the Hounds knew a good deal more than 
he did, but after they tried all they knew then 
he could form an opinion where the Fox was 
gone, but not before. 

Mr. Foljambe attached the greatest import- 
ance to getting his Hounds away together. 
Before his Hounds were a field away from a wood 
you might hear him sing out, * Want a Hound,' 
and his horn would be going at their tails until 
he got him, and when got, he would drop back 
and not care to go near them until they had been 
five or ten minutes at a check. But if a single 
Hound was wanting when a Fox was killed, 
however great the run, he would harp upon it 
for a month. 



Goodall combined, with his other excellencies 
in the field, condition and kennel management 
quite the best. Mr. Foljambe was by far the 
best breeder of Hounds, and had the keenest 
eye for a Hound's work — nothing escaped him. 
Mr. Musters was the best hand at fairly hunting 
a Fox to death, and could make a iniddling lot 
work like first-rate Hounds. 

Old Dick Burton was Lord Henry's first 
huntsman in the Burton Country, and showed 
great sport for many years. He was the best 
hand at breaking a pack of Hounds from hares, 
and teaching them to draw, upon which so much 
depends. He always drew his woods vp the 
wind, throwing his Hounds in fifty or sixty yards 
from the wood, and allowing them to spread, so 
that every Hound should be busy, with his head 
down, looking for his Fox ; and had them in his 
front, making noise enough to cheer them and 
enable them to know where he was ; and in cub- 
hunting made the Hounds find their cub for 
themselves, and would not have him hallooed at 
first across the ride. (Nothing is truer than the 
old saying, 'A Fox nicely found is half killed.') 
He would trot through the hollow covert with his 
Hounds behind him, and an occasional blow of 
his horn, to wake up any chance Fox, and get 
Hounds in the thick covert, where they could 
not use their eyes, as quick as possible, and then 

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give them as much time as they liked. Nothing 
is worse than hurrying Hounds through strong 
covert, or forcing them to draw over again a 
covert when they are satisfied that there is not a 
Fox in it. The blackthorn and gorse coverts he 
would always draw down the wind, keeping care- 
fully behind his Hounds : by so doing, first, the 
Hounds have their heads down, and never chop 
a Fox — they do not see him. The Fox hears 
them, and the wildest Fox is off at once, and the 
cubs learn to steal away after the Hounds are 
gone. Second, it enabled him to get the body 
and tail Hounds out of the covert without 
hunting the line of the Fox through the strong 
gorse ; brought the two ends together all away 
on the back of the old Fooc — the true secret of 
getting a shaiy burst. 

No man could turn out a highly-mettled 
pack of Hounds, and so young a lot steady 
from hares as old Dick Burton. In the year 
1859, when the Hatton country was as full as 
Blankney with riot, we found in Hatton Wood, 
at a quarter before twelve, and in the month 
of February, ran from Fox to Fox until half- 
past three, when all the second horses being 
beat and a fog rising up, I rode amongst the 
Hounds, coming away from Hatton Wood the 
last time to see what I had got. To my 
astonishment, I found my pack consisted of 



11 couples of puppies and 5\ of old Hounds!! 
We had had an old dog kicked, and old 'Darling ' 
leading them, then five years old, and showing 
himself for the first time. 

Old Dick's principle was to break his puppies 
by themselves, showing them all the riot he 
could in the summer, and drilling them severely, 
but never allowing a whip to flog them after 
they had escaped to his heels, or to flog them 
when coming out of a wood and cutting them 
off. After being well drilled, he would then 
take them amongst the cubs and smash up a 
litter of cubs, blooding them up to their eyes to 
make them forget their punishment, and to care 
for nothing but a Fox. Hounds being unsteady 
for hares, when Foxes are plentiful, is en- 
tirely the FAULT OF THE HANDLING. The 

highest praise that can be given to a Hunts- 
man is for a fool to say : ' We had a great run, 
and killed our Fox ; as for the Huntsman, he 
might have been in bed.' A Huntsman's first 
BOAST should be that all his Hounds required 
was to be taken to the covert-side and taken 
home again. His greatest disgrace is, first, to 
have his Hounds squandered all over the country, 
and to leave them out ; second, to be unable to 
get them out of a wood ; third, not to know to 
a yard where he lost his Fox — if properly 
managed, the Hounds will always tell it to him, 



The causes that have produced the present 
unsteadiness in the Hounds from hares : — 

1st. — In 1863, seventeen virtually blank days, 
that is, not finding a Fox whilst there was Hght 
to kill him, and rarely a day with two or three 
Foxes to bring the Hounds to their senses and 
work them down, left that season's puppies un- 

2nd. — In 1864 the terrible mistake was made 
of leaving the Hounds at Home through the 
cub-hunting season, on account of the dryness 
of the ground. Regular hunting was com- 
menced with the two-year-olds, worse than 
puppies entirely undrilled ; and short days were 

3rd. — In breaking the Hounds in 1865, they 
were completely ruined by being rated and 
flogged in coming out of covert to their Hunts- 
man, taught to turn back to the woods, and to 
remain there, afraid to come out ; and, when left 
to themselves, hunting hares by hours together. 

4th. — Taking the Fox's head away from the 
Hounds. No practice can be more abominable 
or more Cockney. A puppy that has once 
fought for the head and carried it home in 
triumph, trotting in front of the Hounds, will 
from that day, and marks himself for a stallion 




5th. — Neither the first, second, nor third 
being to be depended upon, the steady old 
Hounds never knew when to go to the cry, and 
at last joined the wild Hounds when a large 
body had got together. To get them right, it 
would be desirable to put together all the two- 
year-olds, and all determined hare-hunters, such 
as ' Saladin,' kc, of the three-year-olds, and drill 
them by themselves, then take them into the 
Wragby Woodlands, where you are sure of a 
large litter ; work the cubs for four or five hours, 
and smash up three of them, having three or 
four lads to watch the cubs, so that as soon as 
they have eaten one you may know where to go 
and clap them on another leg-weaby cub. 
The next time their turn is to go out, take them 
to Blankney and Ashby, and smash up another 
litter in the middle of the hares. After being 
hunted three weeks by themselves, then to mix 
them together. It is essential that the steady, 
quiet Hounds should not be exposed to the 
annoyance of hearing the wild Hounds rated 
and flogged ; it disgusts them, and they will 
do nothing, merely following, not guiding, 
the pack.